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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alice Greenfield McGrath, R.I.P.

My good friend Alice Greenfield McGrath died yesterday, age 92. A fighter against injustice all her life, she is probably best known as the model for the character Alice in the Luis Valdez play and film "Zoot Suit," about the 1940's Sleepy Lagoon murders in Los Angeles. Alice was executive secretary of the Sleep Lagoon Defense Committee, which eventually succeeded in overturning the convictions on appeal.

Alice and I became close friends 25 years ago when I conducted an oral history of her for UCLA's Oral History Program. I last saw her in May on my annual visit to the West Coast.

I will have more to say about Alice soon, but some details of her life are given in a news story about her death in the Ventura Country Star.

The photo of Alice is taken in the basement office of her house in Ventura, California, where I was a guest many times over the past quarter century.

More about Alice. Her obituary in the Los Angeles Times.

Another tribute to Alice. By